I didn't get to do very much photography in December as other things ended up taking priority, but - as promised -
"Wartime in the Vale 2015" was converted to HTML 5, as well as its "Arts" spin-off "The D-Day Dolls". I also managed to
convert two "Heritage Property" collections as well.
As far as 2018 went as a whole, it was much better than 2017, but
perhaps not as good as I had intended it to be. At the beginning of the year I published a list of things I had intended
to do during the year, and in fairness, I did manage to do most of it, particularly replacing my camera body and getting back to Dorset
after three years, but the latter ended up somewhat uncertain until almost the last minute, for reasons I will go into later.
switch from a Sony A550 to a Sony A77 occurred in April, although for various reasons, mainly to do with getting replacement accessories
that I wasn't able to purchase with the camera body, the first sessions didn't occur until the beginning of May. I had
intended to replace the A550 at the beginning of March, having done what I had planned to be two final sessions with it at the end
of February before returning it to its original box in preparation for being part-exchanged for the new camera. However,
significant snowfall on the first weekend of March put paid to travelling to either Cheltenham or Worcester to implement the change,
and it ended up being postponed until April, during which the A550 was unboxed and did several more sessions. Had I known
that that the London Camera Exchange in Cheltenham was open on a Sunday, then I might well have managed the changeover a couple of
weeks earlier, and not ended up with a rare April where I didn't manage any photography.
Thanks to good weather, the first
sessions at the beginning of May produced some good photographs, and I was looking forward to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's
Spring Gala at the end of the month. However, events suddenly took a tragic turn when my father was diagnosed with a serious
illness that eventually proved terminal, and he passed away in July. As a result my summer plans ended up more-or-less
thrown away and the question of whether or not I could get to Dorset later in the year became uncertain. What photography I
managed between the end of May and the end of July had to be fitted round dealing with my father's condition, and going away for a
week did not seem like a good idea as something would almost certainly have gone wrong while I was away.
In a rather
bitter irony, my father's death in July meant that I could now get to Dorset in September as I now no longer needed to worry about
his condition while I was away. The 2018 Dorset holiday, the first I had in over three years, was one of the best I'd ever had,
with glorious weather for just about all of it. After a very depressing summer, this proved to be a much-needed lift for me,
and was probably the high point of the year.
The rest of the year was somewhat lacklustre, mainly due to the weather not being
all that good. I had hoped to visit some National Trust properties during the autumn, but this never quite came off.
I should now mention the secondary project of the year : rebuilding this site into a HTML 5. This is intended to
provide a site that is more compatible with mobile devices as my previous solution to this problem was to effectively build two
sites, which was somewhat time-consuming and not all that efficient really. Since there was no quick method to converting
the existing sites (at least not that I could immediately find), I effectively had to start again from scratch and converting seven
years of work was not going to happen overnight. My plan was to start at the collection level and deal with the top levels
once I had a better idea of what I was doing, and I set myself a target of an average of one collection converted a week.
As of the end of December, 64 of the site's 117 collections are in HTML 5 format (56 conversions and 8 new ones) and I plan to start
work on the top-level conversion in early 2019. The conversion has resulted in increased rankings on search engines, but
I would say has encroached on time I would have used for actually working on the photographs themselves, and I have to be careful
that maintenance of the website doesn't end up defeating the purpose of the site. This is all my own work, and if the odd error
creeps in now and again, that is perhaps understandable (I don't mind people pointing out errors, but in a site containing several
thousand pages, it does help if people tell me which page the error is on).
I think that 2018 proved to be a challenging year
for me on several fronts. Not only have I had deal with loss of my father, I've also had to deal with a new job that although
I enjoy, does come with twice the commuting time of my previous job, and thus less free time for myself. In hindsight, perhaps
I could have done a little better, but on the whole, I think I succeeded in doing most of what I set out to do for the year.
the first couple of months, I plan to work on converting the top levels of this site, with a view to having these ready for the 1st
March. Once this happens, I plan to remove most of the "Event" collections prior to 2015 as I don't really want to get
bogged down in converting these, and it will clear some space for some new work. Some items from these collections may be transferred
to other collections.
Beyond that, I'm not going to make much in the way of commitments to photography. There are several
non-photographic tasks I want to try and undertake during the year, the least of which is a computer upgrade which really needs to
be done in the next few months (probably once I have completed the HTML 5 conversion of the top levels of this site). I shall
see where I stand at the beginning of March.
Collections to be removed from 1st March
Armed Forces Day 2012 (I intend to keep
the Olympic Torch section of this collection, though)
Cropthorne Walkabouts 2010, 2011 & 2012
Evesham Medieval Festival 2008
Regattas 2009, 2010, 2013 & 2014
Evesham River Festivals 2009 & 2010
Evesham Riverside Vintage Show 2012
Master of Midshires
Spring Vintage Show 2011
Wartime in the Vales 2009-2014
I have yet to make a final decision on Evesham River Festival 2011
and the Evesham 10k run 2009; I feel that leaving these as examples of events where I was Official Photographer might not be a bad